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European Championships in Riesenbeck: German dressage team misses title defence

European Championships in Riesenbeck: German dressage team misses title defence

As of: September 7, 2023 4:47 PM

The German national team failed to defend its title at the European Championships in Riesenbeck and had to concede defeat to Great Britain.

The mood of the local outfit’s fans soured early on. The German national team had no chance at the European Championships on Thursday and failed to defend their title in Riesenbeck, Westphalia. The host quartet around Jessica van Bredow-Werndel, who rode brilliantly with Dalera, had to settle for silver in the home game. Gold went to the dominant team of Great Britain.

Dennis Baylor, sporting director of the FN Riding Association, commented that “the British are great”. Nevertheless, he stressed: “We had four great team performances with the great Jessica. Our form is picking up after third place at the World Cup.” Von Bredow-Werndl said: “Nothing is impossible today. The British are extraordinarily strong.”

A good performance of Von Bredow-Werndl is not enough

Defeat was already evident for the last British pair with individual world champion Charlotte Fry and Glamordale. Couples from the island clearly dominated the Grand Prix events. “It looks like it’s decided,” EM host Ludger Beerbaum said at midday. The 26th gold medal for the German European Championship team was practically out of reach. With Dallera as the last German starter, von Bredow-Werndl put in a very good performance in the arena, but it wasn’t enough.

The result could have already been predicted in the first two days of the European Championships, with Britain’s Karl Hester leading Great Britain with more points than Rhineberg’s Isabelle Werth with Qantas. On the second morning of the European Championships, the current gap in performance between the British and German teams became even more apparent when Charlotte Dujardin rode with Imhotep ahead of Frédéric Vandres from The Hague via bluetooth. The three-time Olympic champion again extended the British lead.

Vandres avoids danger

Vandres avoided the last necessary danger. The 36-year-old explained that he didn’t want to “get too excited” because the risk of making a serious mistake was too great for him. Vandres presented a “very harmonious round” that could not be matched by Dujardin. “There were no technical errors,” said the expert from Hagen. “Consistency never goes out of style.”

Only Van Bredow-Werndal was able to keep up with the two best British riders, Dujardin and Fry. With 37-year-old Thalera from Dundenhausen, Bavaria, they are currently the only German pair to reliably achieve more than 80 percent. Their ride was the German team’s best performance so far.

The lack of top pairings became apparent early on

Nevertheless, winning another EM medal with Germany’s best rider team was not enough. The lack of an absolute top pair was already evident at last year’s world championships in Denmark, when Van Bredow-Werndl was missing due to maternity leave and could only win bronze. Von Bredow-Werndl is now trying to defend her two individual titles.

Matthias Alexander Rath from Kronberg belongs to the German Quartet. As the opener, he gave the hosts the lead in the saddle of Thiago, but his decision was overturned in the end. Only the top three pairs from each country are included in the team rankings.